Nova Scotia

Hammonds Plains residents to rally for road paving

People who live on and around Hammonds Plains Road in Halifax are planning a rally this weekend to raise awareness about the quality of that road.
Residents will walk on Hammonds Plains Road to raise awareness about its quality. (CBC)

People who live on and around Hammonds Plains Road in Halifax are planning a rally this weekend to raise awareness about the quality of that road.

"We would want to see the pavement widened so that it would be able to accommodate pedestrians, joggers, walkers, cyclists," said Christina Parker, founder of the Greater Hammonds Plains Communities Association.

"Just so you would have breathing room because right now, there's absolutely no room for error on this road because it is substandard pavement."

Hammonds Plains Road is considered an arterial roadway and has a rural road classification, even though some parts of it see up to 27,000 vehicles every day. That traffic includes cars, buses and trucks.

During the Rally for Lanes on Sunday, residents will walk along an 11-kilometre-long stretch of Hammonds Plains Road where there are no sidewalks.

Peter Lund, the councillor for the area, said the gravel shoulder that currently exists is inadequate.

"The asphalt is about two feet narrower than it should be," he told CBC News.

"The rally that they're planning to have on Sunday is a great idea because it will help me gauge the level of interest in terms of the amount of people that would bike along this road or would walk along this road if it was indeed safe."

Lund said there is not yet an estimate of how much the road work might cost.

The rally is also meant to bring awareness to issues such as the speed limit and the lack of streetlights along the road.

Reported accidents on Hammonds Plains Road

2007: 122 collisions

(22 injuries, 100 no injuries)

2008: 131 collisions

(23 injuries, 108 no injuries)

2009: 127 collisions

(1 fatal, 29 injuries, 97 no injuries)

2010: 148 collisions

(24 injuries, 124 no injuries)

2011: 67 collisions so far

(13 injuries, 54 no injuries)

According to the RCMP, there has been a steady increase in the number of accidents on Hammonds Plains Road, in the stretch between Highway 103 and the Kingswood development.

Residents said the area has seen large development projects — including Kingswood and Glen Arbour — in the last decade and the infrastructure has not kept up with the pace of development.

"There are 5,000 approved building lots there are going to occur out here and this roadway hasn't changed hardly at all during that period of our residency out here," said Grant Jarvis, who has lived in the area for more than a decade.

"Frankly, it's very risky to walk on the sides of the road."

Jarvis said he knows of people who would rather drive short distances than walk on Hammonds Plains Road.

"They're afraid to get out on the road and just walk three doors down to their neighbour's. And if you look at the condition of certain areas on this roadway, it's very dangerous," he said.

Bea Robinson, who has run the PIN-HI Golf Course for 35 years with her family, said she gets nervous watching pedestrians along the road while morning commuters speed by.

"We have young people who walk early in the morning. Unbelievable. Unbelievable. They're taking their lives in their hands. They really are," she said.

Robinson said the senior citizens who use the golf course are often discouraged by the amount of traffic.

"They are very careful when they come in the driveway and very careful when they leave. They don't take chances," she said.

"This gives them a great problem coming out here."